Tag Archives: Erasmus

Speech by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, at the European Council meeting on 14 and 15 December 2017

(check against delivery)


  1. Brexit

I should like to congratulate the negotiator, Michel Barnier, on the excellent work he has done and express Parliament’s satisfaction at the unity we have shown.

In the resolution we adopted yesterday, Parliament noted the fact that sufficient progress has been made for the negotiations to move on to the second phase. Now we need to be vigilant for the next steps.

In the light of the statements made on the other side of the Channel last weekend, we want to underline that the joint report is a binding document, not an exercise in sleight of hand to enable us to move on to the second phase. There can be no discussions on future relations if the exit agreement is not applied to the letter.

The fact that ‘sufficient progress’ has been made does not mean that we have resolved all the problems. We still have a lot of work to do. Parliament will pay particularly close attention to the measures proposed to genuinely safeguard the rights of citizens and to the procedure which will be introduced to guarantee their special status.

I am also delighted that the British Government has agreed to honour its financial commitments. I never doubted that it would. As regards the issue of the Irish border, Ireland’s problems are the Union’s problems.

The United Kingdom must shed all ambiguity: the specific solution agreed for this border must not become a back door into the internal market.

As regards future relations with the United Kingdom, there are red lines which are non-negotiable: integrity of the internal market, decision-making autonomy of the Union, and third-country status, with all that that implies. In this difficult second phase as well, unity will be our shield.

We will play our part in drafting the agreement on future relations which Parliament will ultimately have to approve.

We face a series of challenges on matters which our citizens regard as priorities.

  1. Security and defence

According to the findings of the Eurobarometer survey, EU citizens want a Union which takes more effective action in the areas of security and defence. We cannot continue to rely on the military might of others. Our security, monitoring our borders, managing migration, fighting terrorism and the stability of regions immediately beyond our borders are our responsibility.  

In signing the Rome Declaration, we made a commitment to revitalise the Union, starting from a common defence. The first step is to develop a European industry and a European market which generate economies of scale and facilitate interoperability.

Twenty-five Member States have just taken an historic step forward by introducing arrangements for permanent military cooperation. The objectives include developing European defence instruments and conducting joint security operations. The EU defence fund, which is currently being discussed in Parliament and which would be used to support the security and defence industry, points in the same direction.

Our industry will benefit from spin-offs generated by research projects and the development of prototypes. The more effective use of funds at EU level will be matched by savings at national level. Common procurement procedures and common standards will enhance our ability to launch joint security operations.

We should follow the example of our space policy where European systems, such as EGNOS, Galileo and Copernicus, have helped to make us more competitive. Drawing on that example, the next budget must set aside the funds needed for proper investment in security and defence.

  1. Social, educational and cultural dimension

Globalisation and new technologies are serious concerns for our citizens, who want a Union which ensures that no one is left behind.

Digitalisation, robotics and artificial intelligence are transforming manufacturing and skills. The new jobs being created are not enough to offset those which have been lost to machines and technologies. Around half of all human activities could be replaced by automated processes.

The Union must steer this ongoing revolution, by investing in training. More effective coordination between universities, training centres and industry is essential if workers’ skills are to develop in line with changing needs.

The new EU budget should make additional resources available, not only for the Erasmus programme for students, but also for apprenticeships and traineeships for persons seeking to re-enter the labour market.

It is firms which create jobs, and for that reason any rational employment policy must be based on support for the real economy. 

Our entrepreneurs must be able to invest in Europe without facing unfair competition from businesses which deal with overcapacity problems by laying off European workers, while taking advantage of subsidies and selling their products below cost price. Parliament insisted that the new method for calculating anti-dumping duties should not impose any additional burden of proof on SMEs and take account of social and environmental dumping.

Parliament’s proposal on the Posted Workers Directive combines provisions to protect workers, enhance competitiveness and create a fairer market. I hope that an agreement can be reached with the Council as soon as possible.

If we want to create jobs, we must also focus on sectors of high labour intensity and creativity. Our history and culture, which go back thousands of years, offer potential for growth which we must exploit to the full.

I am thinking of tourism, design, the digitalisation of cultural sites, luxury goods and high-end craft products. We are not only the continent with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites; we are also still the leader in many branches of the cultural and creative industries.

In its resolution on A coherent EU policy for the cultural and creative industries, Parliament calls for measures to promote a sector which employs 12 million people.

In this sector as well, the digital revolution is opening up unprecedented prospects, provided that we come up with the right policies to govern it. Digital platforms must not be above the law. Like other firms, they must be accountable, pay taxes, guarantee transparency and safeguard social rights, minors, security, consumers and intellectual property.

The market for pirated and counterfeit goods is continuing to grow, thanks in no small part to the web. If we fail to safeguard creativity and the work done by product and fashion designers and creators of songs, films, articles and books, investment will dwindle, with serious consequences for Europe’s competitiveness.

Even more than our economy, culture is the glue which holds Europe together. Awareness of our own identity is the foundation for a strong and open Europe which sees diversity as an asset.

The European Year of Cultural Heritage, of which the European Parliament has been a strong advocate, offers an opportunity to rediscover and promote that identity and bring the Union closer to its peoples.

  1. Immigration

Our citizens are looking to us to resolve the migration crisis. They no longer accept the uncontrolled flows of migrants, pilgrimages of refugees hopping from country to country in search of asylum, mass deaths in the desert or at sea, or the appalling spectacle of markets where people are sold as slaves.

Piecemeal responses are the opposite of effective solutions. What we need instead is a strong European strategy, genuine coordination and more pooling of resources.

On the one hand, we need to step up checks at our external borders, turning back those who have no right to enter, or arranging quickly and firmly for their readmission; on the other, we need to show solidarity with those fleeing wars and persecution.

The current asylum system, which leaves countries of first entry to bear the full brunt of dealing with migrants, is not working. Parliament has approved by a wide majority an overhaul of the Dublin system, to introduce rules which increase the element of solidarity and make the system more uniform and effective. We want the system for the allocation of refugees to be automatic and to be based on fair and objective criteria, in keeping with the spirit of solidarity on which our Union has been founded from the start.

Now it is up to the Council to do its part, as quickly as possible. Although efforts to achieve a broad consensus on such a sensitive topic are laudable, it is not right to insist on unanimity at all costs in cases where the Treaties provide for decision-making by a qualified majority under the ordinary legislative procedure. The danger is not only that a decision of fundamental importance to EU citizens will be put off indefinitely, but also that Parliament will be deprived of its powers as co-legislator. As President of the European Parliament, it is my duty to safeguard its prerogatives.

At the Abidjan summit, the urgent need for us all to work together to stabilise Libya and protect human rights emerged very clearly. The African Union is calling on us to speak with one voice and coordinate our efforts.

Shutting down the central Mediterranean corridors will require investments similar in scale to those used to halt migration via the Balkan route. This money must be spent in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Chad or Mali. It must be used to train border guards and members of the security forces, or to set up reception centres under the auspices of the UN, where humanitarian protection can be provided and asylum applications dealt with.

The problem of migration, which is linked to demographics, climate, terrorism, wars and poverty, must be tackled at its root. We must offer young Africans real prospects, otherwise they will leave not in their thousands, but in their millions.

The EUR 3.4 billion investment plan for Africa, which we approved in July, is an important step in the right direction. But much greater efforts are needed if Africa is to develop a manufacturing base, farm efficiently, exploit renewable sources of energy and build up proper infrastructure.

In Abidjan I proposed that as from the next budget at least EUR 40 billion should be set aside for the investment fund. The leverage effect and synergies generated with the funding provided by the European Investment Bank could make it possible to mobilise some EUR 500 billion, thereby doubling foreign investment in Africa.

  1. Strengthening economic governance

We need to complete the Banking Union and the capital market. Reducing risks must imply pooling them.

Parliament is in favour of transforming the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund. We also support the idea of appointing an EU Finance Minister; he or she would also be a Vice-President of the Commission and chair the Eurogroup, and would have the confidence of the European Parliament after going through a hearing and approval procedure.

These reforms must go beyond mere window-dressing; what are needed are real powers, a large enough budget and democratic scrutiny.

  1. A political budget

As I emphasised at the last European Council meeting, I agree with Commissioner Stylianides on the need to develop genuine European civil protection.  We could endow ourselves with the joint capabilities and resources needed to respond promptly and more effectively to requests for assistance from Member States and neighbouring countries. In so doing, we could show our citizens the more practical face of European solidarity.

This is another example of how pooling resources in certain sectors generates efficiency gains and savings for all the Member States.

Similarly, we need to pool more resources in the areas of defence, training, culture and immigration. The Union needs a political budget which reflects citizens’ priorities. This reform should be at the top of our list, and it does not even require an amendment to the Treaties.

We must not increase the burden on citizens and SMEs – they already pay too much tax. We need to generate Community own resources by collecting revenue from those who avoid taxes at the moment.

On the basis of the Monti report, Parliament is considering a series of possibilities. These include taxes on digital platforms, which would do away with the problem of tax dumping and the territoriality of profits, and on speculative financial transactions.

I also regard bolder action against tax havens as essential.

Questions and answers on EU and Climate finance

Our emissions decline while the economy grows, largely thanks to innovative technologies, showing that growth and climate action can go hand in hand. Whereas GDP grew by some 10% from 2005 to 2015, primary energy consumption decreased by almost 11% in the same period. The signal is clear – cleaner energy and economic growth can go hand in hand.

What is the investment need in in the coming years?

The Paris Agreement sends a clear signal to capital markets and investors – public and private – that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay. The Commission is committed to putting in place the necessary reforms to transform our financial sector. Shifting and rapidly scaling up private investment is essential to avoid the “lock-in” of fossil fuels infrastructure and carbon intensive assets and to reach the Paris agreement targets for 2030.

To limit the increase in temperature to well below two degrees Celsius, Europe needs an estimated €179 billion in additional yearly investment for the next couple of decades. Public climate finance will continue to play a significant role. However, this is not enough. We need a broader range of contributions. To achieve our goals, we need to increase the flow of the private capital in green and sustainable investment.

I. Public finance

What is the EU contribution to international climate finance?

The EU has shown its commitment to the fight against climate change by mainstreaming spending on climate action across all EU programmes. At least 20% of the EU’s budget for 2014-2020 – as much as €180 billion − should be spent on climate change-related action.

Climate is integrated into all major EU spending programmes, in particular cohesion policy, regional development, energy, transport, research and innovation, the Common Agricultural Policy as well as the EU’s development policy.

The EU is the biggest climate finance contributor globally. Total contributions from the EU and its member states amounted to €20.2 billion in 2016, a significant increase of 15% compared to 2015. Climate finance from the EU budget will more than double between 2014 and 2020.











           2018* (draft)






* draft budget report 2018

** programming 2019-2020




With an initial contribution from the EU budget of €4.1 billion, the European Fund for Sustainable Development is designed to trigger up to €44 billion of additional investments. Three of the five investment windows under the new Fund will directly target climate action.

II. Climate-related spending beyond the EU budget

Beyond the EU budget, with the European Investment Plan, the Juncker Commission has scaled up support to attract additional public and private financing to transition to a low-carbon economy. The European Investment Plan has triggered €240.9 billion worth of investment so far through the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The energy sector is currently the first in terms of the number of approved operations and the majority of the supported projects are investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate-friendly energy infrastructure. This is supported by a new rule in place since September 2017 whereby at least 40% of projects under the infrastructure and innovation window should contribute to the climate objectives.

From 2014-2020, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will allocate €18 billion to energy efficiency, €6 billion to renewable energy – notably in buildings and district heating and cooling – and around €1 billion to smart distribution grids.

How do other EU innovative financing instruments and Bank institutions aim to leverage private investment?

European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD): A minimum share (28 %) of EFSD funding should support investments contributing to implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The fund is established in September 2017 and the heart piece of the EU’s new External Investment Plan (EIP) targeting the European Neighbourhood and Africa and following the same approach as EFSI.

European Investment Bank (EIB): The EIB is committing at least 25% of their investments to climate change mitigation and adaptation, supporting low-carbon and climate-resilient growth. In 2016, the European Investment Bank exceeded its climate action target for the seventh year running, providing over EUR 19.5 billion to help mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact.

Multilateral Development Banks: Minimum commitments on investment support for climate relevant projects vary between 28% to 40%. In October 2016, the main Multilateral Development Banks issued a statement to develop together a joint climate action partnership aimed at developing a more collaborative and coherent approach that will focus on scaling up low-carbon and climate-resilient investments for sustainable infrastructure, including in particular speeding the energy transition consistent with the Paris Agreement.

How does the EU generate investment in research and stimulate innovation?

The Commission is boosting new investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation by increasing targeted public investment in clean energy and climate science and innovation – worth €3.4 billion in 2018-2020 under the EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 research programme.

Furthermore, the EU Emissions Trading System will include two new Innovation and Modernisation funds that have the potential to generate up to €18 billion of revenue during the next decade. The revenue is intended for European industry to invest in new technologies and for the Member States to modernise their power sector and energy systems.

What is the EU specific contribution towards Africa and the EU Neighborhood?

The EU’s new External Investment Plan will play an important role in promoting inclusive growth and job creation in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood countries. Sustainable economic development and resilience in Africa and the EU neighbourhood are also factors in tackling the root causes of migration.

The newly created European Fund for Sustainable Development will leverage public investment to trigger more private capital flows to sustainable projects. This new external instrument, adapted to the specific needs of partner countries, builds on the success of the European ‘Juncker Plan’ model which has already triggered around €250 billion of investment within the EU. Like the Juncker Plan, it will also create opportunities for European industrial and technological leadership.

How is the EU mobilising action on the local level and in the regions?

Under the Smart Cities and Communities initiative, the Commission has so far contributed over €270 million co-funding to projects demonstrating sustainable, cost-effective and replicable district-scale solutions at the intersection of energy and transport enabled by ICT. They bring together cities and industry to integrate and demonstrate solutions in energy, infrastructure and transport, to provide other cities with insights on how they work in practice and opportunities for replication. 36 ‘lighthouse’ cities and 42 ‘follower’ cities participate, and the partnership keeps growing.

Under Urban Innovative Actions, an envelope of €371 million was granted from the European Regional Development Fund for 2015-20; first 18 winning projects starting 2016 in circular economy, urban mobility and other topics.

Under the €130 million CIVITAS project, 85 local authorities are participating in innovative, integrated transport demonstration projects: micro depots in Munich, cycling and pedestrian safety in Stockholm, charging e-busses with alternative measures in Constanta, safe routes to school in Limassol – with global ‘observer cities’ benefiting from experiences.

In the context of the EU Cohesion Policy, EU Member States and regions have developed over 120 smart specialisation strategies for the 2014-2020 period, with more than €40 billion allocated to regions through the European Regional Development Fund (more than €65 billion including national co-financing).

Five interregional smart specialisation partnerships on bioenergy, marine renewable energy, sustainable construction, smart grids and solar energy have been launched since 2015 with the support of the Commission. About 60 regions from 20 Member States and EU neighbouring countries are participating in these partnerships.

How does the EU support the Youth in the fight against climate change?

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. Over €900m will be spent on the European Solidarity Corps and Erasmus+ for 2018-2020.

The European Solidarity Corps could dedicate over €40 million to creating volunteering opportunities in the areas of environment and climate action by 2020. Additional funding transferred from other EU programmes to Erasmus+ or the European Solidary Corps could also benefit the Youth for Climate Action initiative.

What is the EU doing to support mobility?

Cohesion policy is funding research and development of new transport technologies and services, co-financing transport investments to the tune of €70 billion in the 2014-2020 programmes, supporting infrastructure, equipment and vehicles of the future. Under the Connecting Europe Facility, the EU’s financial mechanism supporting the roll-out of infrastructure networks, €18.1 billion has so far been committed to the rail and inland waterway sectors, as these are the two most sustainable transport modes, representing 80% of the total investment in transport infrastructure under this programme. As of November 2017, the transport sector also accounts for 9% of investment under the Juncker Plan, boosting investments in the transport sector by €22.7 billion. In the research field, over €1.8 billion has been budgeted for transport from 2014 to 2017.

Support for alternative transport and the supporting infrastructure is a priority for the Commission. Up to €800 million of new EU investments will support alternative fuels infrastructure, and could leverage public and private investment of up to €4 billion.

III. Sustainable finance

What is the role of financial sector for enhancing sustainable investment, and what has the EU done already in this area?

The financial sector has an important role to play in reaching the climate change goals of the Paris Agreement and the EU’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is vital that more private capital is mobilised towards investments in the low-carbon economy.

The European Union has been at the forefront of efforts to build a financial system that supports sustainable investments by the private sector. As of next year, the new rules on non-financial disclosure will require large companies listed in EU markets to disclose information on social and environmental aspects of their business. In June 2017 the Commission adopted guidelines to enhance transparency of companies on sustainability issues.  The EU has also taken steps to incentivise pension funds and shareholders to take sustainability into account in their investment decisions.

What are the Commission’s upcoming plans on sustainable finance?

The Commission is firmly supporting the work on sustainable finance through the flagship project of Capital Markets Union (CMU).

In December 2016 the Commission established a High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance to advise on how to help the transition to a low-carbon economy, and it delivered its first recommendations for action in its Interim Report of July 2017. This HLEG is expected to deliver the Final Report by the end of January 2018.

The Commission will present the EU strategy on sustainable finance by the first quarter of 2018 and will complement that strategy with adequate measures such as a proposal to integrate sustainability considerations into the duties that asset managers and institutional investors; and steps to amend capital charges for banks to boost green investments and loans. The Commission is also exploring other actions, including developing a taxonomy for sustainable finance, as well as EU standards and labels for green bonds and green investment funds. 

The Commission is organising a High Level conference on 22 March 2018, notably with the objective of presenting the Commission Strategy and Action Plan on Sustainable Finance. This event will be the occasion to demonstrate our commitment to the Paris Agreement objectives, and to encourage the engagement of the financial sector. 

EU steps up its support to education for all with €100 million

The new funding comes on top of the €375 million already committed in 2014. This support will help to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, thus contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the objective of leaving no one behind.

At this occasion, Commissioner Mimica stressed this critical moment for all partners to work together, in order to reverse the current trend of declining assistance for education: “Our action can make a real change for the millions of girls and boys around the world, who are not going to school. The additional €100 million announced today will ensure that over 25 million additional children complete primary school or lower secondary school. I call on other actors and partners to follow and match our ambition. Only together can we ensure that all marginalised children, including the poorest, those in emergency and conflict situations, disadvantaged girls and children with disabilities receive a quality education and are empowered.”

Currently, in many countries, over three-quarters of children at primary and lower secondary age do not achieve minimum proficiency in reading. To tackle this, the EU for example helps to address the shortage of teachers, as Africa will need 6 million additional primary teachers by 2030. It further supports partner countries in strengthening education systems and the mutual accountability of all concerned in providing quality education.

The EU’s effort is paying off. To date, EU support to the Global Partnership for Education has contributed to enable 64 million more children to be enrolled in primary school in 2014 compared with 2002. The number of children completing primary school has also gone up to 73% in 2014, compared with 63% in 2002.


Investment in education is key for progress on other sustainable development challenges including health, sustainable growth, job creation and long-term peace and stability. Many countries have made historically unprecedented progress in increasing enrolment. For example, Niger increased primary completion rates from 20% in 1999 to 69% in 2015. However, there are still about 62 million children worldwide who do not complete primary education, and around 201 million children of secondary school age are not in school.

The EU is the biggest contributor to the Global Partnership for Education, providing 63% of its overall funds. The additional funding announced today comes on top of the €375 million committed by the EU in 2014. This announcement comes two months prior to GPE’s Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

Furthermore, the EU supports developing partner countries with bilateral support programmes for education worth around €3.4 billion, as well as €300 million for Vocational Education and Training and €1.4 billion for higher education (Erasmus+).

For More Information

Global Partnership for Education Replenishment 2020

African Union – European Union Summit: Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future

The EU was represented by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the Council of the EU Donald Tusk, joined by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, Vice-President responsible for the EU’s Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development  Neven Mimica. The African Union was represented by the President of the African Union Alpha Condé and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa FakiMahamat.

On the occasion, President Juncker said: “We spoke a lot about young people during this summit. Already today, the majority of African citizens are under 25 years old, and by the middle of this century, one in four people on earth will be African. But this demographic dividend cannot deliver without smart investments. This is precisely why we are going to put our investments in education, in infrastructure, in peace and security, as well as in good governance – all of which will in turn inspire good business environments and create much needed jobs and growth.” Read the President’s full remarks here.

In their political declaration, the European and African leaders set out their joint commitment to invest in youth for a sustainable future. Concretely, they committed to focussing their work on four strategic priorities. On this basis, the European and African Union Commission will put forward concrete projects and programmes within three months.

Mobilising investments for African structural and sustainable transformation

European leaders presented, and African partners welcomed the EU’s innovative External Investment Plan (EIP), which will mobilise €44 billion of private investments for sustainable development and job creation. Special attention will be paid to enhancing entrepreneurship of women and young people. The newly launched Sustainable Business for Africa Platform (SB4A) will allow for structured dialogue with the European and African private sector.

Investing in people through education, science, technology and skills development

The importance of supporting inclusive education and vocational training was highlighted. Leaders also agreed to enhance the mobility of students, staff and academics across the African continent, as well as exchange programmes between Africa and Europe, such as ERASMUS+.

Strengthening Resilience, Peace, security and governance

Leaders will step up their work to enhance peace and security on both continents. In this regard, they will strengthen strategic, political and operational cooperation between the African Union and European Union, in close partnership with the United Nations. Support to ongoing work to fight against terrorism was reiterated, including the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram, the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel and the African Union Mission in Somalia, to all of which the EU is the biggest contributor.

Managing mobility and migration

European and African leaders reaffirmed their strong political commitment to address the root causes of irregular migration in a spirit of genuine partnership and shared responsibility, and in full respect of international laws and human rights, as well as creating legal pathways for migration. Leaders committed to deepen cooperation on migration and mobility in a joint framework, including a continental dialogue between Africa and Europe.

They stressed the imperative need to improve the conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya, and to undertake all necessary action to provide them with the appropriate assistance and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation to their countries of origin, as well as durable solutions for refugees. In order to jointly address the dramatic situation of migrants and refugees victims of criminal networks, in particular inside Libya, President Jean-Claude Juncker, and High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat agreed to set up a joint EU-AU-UN Task Force to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya. Furthermore, efforts will be intensified to enhance intra-African mobility and the free movement of persons within Africa.

Preparatory events in the run-up to the AU-EU Summit

The AU-EU Summit was preceded by a number of important events, including civil society, local authorities, economic and social actors, as well as European and Pan-African Parliament.

Young leaders from Africa and Europe gathered at the Youth Summit on 9-11 October in Abidjan, and their work intensified in the context of the AU-EU Youth Plugin-Initiative. They developed a Youth Declaration with concrete proposals to leaders, which have provided a valuable impetus in preparing and shaping the outcomes of the AU-EU Summit. Youth representatives furthermore had the chance to address African and European leaders during the Summit to present these proposals.

The 6th EU-Africa business forum took place on 27 November, where business leaders, investors, innovative start-ups, and young and female entrepreneurs from both continents developed recommendations on how to improve the business and investment climate.

On the day before the Summit, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Europe and Africa gathered in Abidjan for a Ministerial meeting, co-chaired by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.

For More Information

Political Declaration [will be available soon]

Joint Statement on the Migration Situation in Libya [will be available soon]

Joint press release of the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union on the Joint Task Force

Intervention du Président Jean-Claude Juncker à la séance d’ouverture du 5ème sommet Union africaine-Union européenne

Opening remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini at the African Union-European Union Ministerial Meeting ahead of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit

Closing remarks by High-Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the 6th European Union-Africa Business Forum

Speech by Vice-President Ansip on the conference on digital transformation in Africa

Opening statement by Vice-President Ansip at the high-level panel on the digital economy, EU-Africa Business Forum

Key results of 30 years of research cooperation with Africa and interactive Africa StoryMap

Address by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, at the African Union-European Union Summit

(check against delivery)

I would like to begin by thanking President Ouattara for hosting this African Union‑European Union Summit here in Côte d’Ivoire.

This meeting has come at a very important juncture.

It rounds off a year of events focusing on Africa which began with the France–Africa Summit in Bamako. This was followed by the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, the European Development Days in Brussels and the G20 African Partnership Conference in Berlin.

And now here we are in Abidjan.

The very fact that we are meeting shows that at long last we have collectively grasped the importance of our partnership.

The time has come to translate words into actions, and this summit needs to be the guarantor of that.  

This is what our citizens are asking us, both in Europe and in Africa.

Last week, the European Parliament held an ‘Africa week’ of parliamentary activities, including a high-level conference on the need to reinvigorate our partnership.

As I often say, we need to look at Africa through African eyes, and not European ones.

That is why we invited many delegations from African countries to that event, starting with the Central African Republic – I thank President Touadéra once again for attending.

There were also delegations from Mali – thank you, President Keita, for sending two of your government ministers – Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and a number of other countries.

The official bodies of the African Union also sent senior representatives, starting with my counterpart, the President of the Pan-African Parliament.

The European Parliament, as a directly elected institution, naturally attaches great importance to good relations between our two continents.

I would go still further and say that it regards such good relations as an absolute necessity.

We are tied by a common history, by our geography, by shared values and languages.

We have to nurture this comparative advantage on a daily basis not to let it slip away.

We do not only have common bonds, but also, and above all, common challenges and interests.

Let us not forget that together we represent more than one third of the countries in the world.

Together we can adopt common positions and achieve common goals in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, as we did during the negotiations on the Paris climate agreement.

This is our strength and that is the strategic interest which should bring us together and give us unity of purpose.

As I said, we have common challenges and interests. I will name just four: migration flows; the fight against terrorism; addressing climate change; economic growth and employment.

We must take action now in these four areas or it may be too late.

This time we are faced with an emergency in the form of Africa’s population explosion: 1 billion people today, 2.5 billion by 2050 and 4.4 billion by 2100.

Hence the theme of this Summit: youth.

Because of this population explosion, in the very near future Africa will have to create several million jobs to cater for the new arrivals on the job market.

It is those young people that we must offer a tangible response in the form of job opportunities and decent living conditions. In short, we must offer hope.

But first we need a new approach, one that is no longer be based solely on development assistance, but rather on a partnership of equals and on large-scale investment with the aim of developing the continent – with the focus on people, on the real economy, on SMEs and on entrepreneurs.

We have a duty to be ambitious.

That is why I keep saying that we need a genuine Marshall Plan for Africa with a budget of EUR 40 billion.

There is untapped potential in Africa. Genuine opportunities exist in a range of sectors – think of digitalisation, agriculture and rural development. But this also calls for high‑quality training and education –  not least for future leaders and managers.

University exchanges, legal migration and mobility must be used to drive development.

We must facilitate university exchanges, support the financing of exchanges through Erasmus+ and expand young entrepreneur exchange programmes.

This requires a joint effort from us, the European and African institutions, but also from the member countries – which means you.

I welcome on this score the initiatives taken by Chancellor Merkel and the German G20 Presidency, by Paolo Gentiloni and the Italian G7 Presidency and by President Macron, in particular as regards the Sahel.

This is a key region, and we must do everything we can to prevent it from collapsing and destabilising Africa as a whole, since this would create enormous risks for both our continents.

The Sahel is a perfect example of why a holistic approach is needed, because business, trade and investment can only flourish and generate jobs and sustainable, inclusive growth in a climate of peace, security, stability, respect for human rights and good governance.

The task ahead of us is a huge one.

Let me end, therefore, with an appeal.

Our summits take place every three years. That is barely enough to nurture a privileged relationship. We must meet more often. I therefore propose to meet every two years.

More than that, we must meet in between our summits for follow-up meetings for implementation at several levels including also the participation of civil society, the younger generations and the economic actors who will indeed materialise and push forward our ambitions. 

That was the thrust of the declaration which was adopted at yesterday’s Parliamentary Summit and which my counterpart from the Pan-African Parliament and I are submitting to you today.

Thank you.